How To Use WorldCat
WorldCat is an online library catalog that lets you look up books, dissertations, microform, journals and multimedia items in libraries around the world.
When To Use WorldCat
- When you know the title of the book you want, but you don't know which libraries have it.
- You want to know what books and other information sources exist on your topic, not just the ones that are available in one library.
- You need more information about a book or other information source (like its full list of authors, its publisher, etc.)
You can get to WorldCat in one of two ways:
- Find the link on the library's Article Databases page
- Go directly to http://www.worldcat.org
WorldCat has a Basic Search on the front page, which is very straightforward. Just click the tab for the type of item you want, and then enter the title, author or keywords you are looking for.
WorldCat also has an Advanced Search with many more options. To get to it, click Advanced Search under the search box on the front page. The features include:
- Boxes to enter author, title, and keyword
- Publication date range
- Audience (children/youth or adults)
- Content (fiction, non-fiction, biography, dissertation, etc.)
- Format (book, ebook, journal, electronic journal, microfilm, etc.)
Your Search Results List
Once you have searched, you can refine your results by narrowing down to a particular author, publication year, subject area, or other facet, using the column on the left
Find Out More About The Item
Click on the title of an item that you are interested in, and that takes you to more information about that item.
- Citation information: title, author, publisher, publication location and date, etc.
- Picture of the cover
- Preview the contents, if available
- Table of contents, if available
- Ratings and reviews of the item, if available
- Information about other editions and formats, if available
- Link to similar items
Below that is information about where you can obtain a copy of the item.
Find A Copy Of The Item
If it is an electronic resource, there will be a section listing online services that provide it, either for free or for a fee.
Below that, whether it is an electronic or print resource, there will be a section listing libraries that have it. There is a place to put in your zipcode so that the libraries nearest you will be at the top of the list.
Remember that if you bring your Empire State College photo ID to any SUNY or NY state community college library, they will let you take out books. For more information about that, see our page on the SUNY Open Access Policy. Also most academic libraries will let members of the community use their resources inside the building.